I just moved my horse to a new barn on Friday. She was turned out with the other horses on Saturday morning. They introduced them well, starting with the lowest mare and working their way up. She’s out with four other mares and one very old, non-dominant gelding. My mare has always been the alpha mare in the past and when the current alpha was introduced they both tried to show one another they wanted to be alpha. They have been fine, they settled right away and they have all been calm but my question is how long does it take for the new horse to become part of the herd because my mare is staying off on her own out of the way as to not cause conflict so I’m wondering how long it will be until she’s able to graze and stay closer to the rest of the herd and actually be with them.
Honestly, it really depends on all horses involved. No scientific way to tell that I am aware of!
At my house, it takes 6 months for a new horse to integrate into the herd. It is usually a year before they are close friends with the new horse. We usually have a stable herd of 3-4 horses, so change is hard.
Occasionally, things happen faster. When I bought my now 18 year old, he immediately became best buddies with the herd leader. Almost 4 years later, he was horrible to my new horse. His kicking and biting were so out of line that I had to send him into time out by making him live at a neighbor’s house for a month. Now, 7 months after the arrival of the new horse, they all get along.
Thanks for the feedback! It had been years since we last moved so I couldn’t remember how long it had taken in the past for her to get settled in and become friends with the other horses in the herd. She’s also always been in mixed herds in the past and is now with all mares and one gelding so it seems like that may make a difference as well.
It definitely has not been 6 months for me over the years. We ran a barn with 30-40 horses for many years, as well as now owning a private facility. While it does seem to vary a little, and entirely depends on your horse…as well as the other horses in the herd, I find it normally takes a good week before the new horse feels comfortable around the rest and often 2-3 weeks before everybody is the best of friends.
Thank you, that definitely puts my mind more at ease! I know it will take some time, it just really is difficult to see your horse have to transition and become friends with all the others. I feel like a mom who just wants her kid to have friends haha
Here at home with my wee mini pals it takes about six months as well.
It’s always been stressful for the owner of the horse as well as for the horse. I worry each time, but each time mine make friends and get along. But there is always some bully in each herd that picks on the timid horses. Mine get along but I feel sorry for the horses who get beat up.
BO here seldom turns out a new horse with a group in less than three weeks, and even then usually does a one on one, with an old reliable first.
However turn over is very low, so taking time doesn’t hurt.
If the introduction went well and no fireworks have occurred, just count your blessings and don’t fret about how long it will take them to be friends. The most important thing is they’ve decided not to be enemies! I would just stop there, and be thankful!
If the introduction went well and no fireworks have occurred, just count your blessings and don’t fret about how long it will take them to be friends. The most important thing is they’ve decided not to be enemies! I would just stop there, and be thankful![/QUOTE]
lol, well said.
IMO and experience horses, go about it like grade school kids. Especially girls. Some are cool enough and become part of the gang right away. Others are sort of cool enough but still have to keep some distance from the circle of the core gang until they prove themselves.
Others are just never cool enough and have to wait for other uncool horses to show up and form their own circle of friends.
I board at a big boarding stable with large groups and a fair amount of turnover. In rough board groups that are together 24/7, it’s usually a couple days, sometimes less, before the new guy finds a friend or two. Some horses integrate more slowly; I had one who took two weeks, every time we moved, to stop fretting and accept his new location. It seems like groups of stall boarded horses, who are together for fewer hours/day, have a different system for hazing or accepting a new guy, maybe because they feel like they need to start over every morning?